Nightmare Fuel: Black Aggie

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

This week I take you on a tour of a cemetery in Baltimore, MD in search of a particular statue known as Black Aggie. It is a statue with a bit of history to it, and a legend that makes it Nightmare Fuel.

Our story begins with the death of a woman named Marian Adams. She was married to Henry Adams, the grandson of President John Quincy Adams, until her death by suicide in 1885. Distraught by the loss of his love, he traveled to Japan in June 1886 in search of comfort. Upon his return home, he sought out famed American sculptor, Augustus St. Gaudens, and commissioned a statue from him to replace his late wife’s headstone. It took four years, and when finally finished was regarded as “the most powerful and expressive pieces in the history of American art.” While the piece itself was never officially named, it is commonly referred to as the Adams Memorial, although its nickname is Grief.

Strangeness surrounded the original statue. Henry Adams never spoke publicly about it or his wife’s death, even refusing to acknowledge the artwork’s nickname. His family heritage intensified the public’s curiosity, but it took hiding the statue behind walls of trees and shrubbery to capture the people’s fascination. It became a popular site to find, even though the piece was described as unnerving to see. Perhaps it was the public’s enthusiasm for it that inspired another artist, Eduard L. A. Pausch, to produce a copy, later dubbed Black Aggie.

The statue was a near identical copy of Grief, although differing in some details. Instead of being made of pink granite, Aggie was grey. It was also missing the bench and the original stonework of the original. Also, inscribed at the base of the statue was the name Agnus, the family name of the replica’s owner at the time, General Felix Agnus.

General Agnus was a war hero during the Civil War, who retired from the military to take over his father-in-law’s position as publisher of the Baltimore American newspaper until his death in 1925. The legend of Black Aggie began with the General’s body being buried at the statue’s feet.

A statue by day, stories began to spread of the stone woman moving on its own and dead spirits gathering around her on some nights. If your eyes met hers, you risked blindness. Pregnant women who passed through Aggie’s shadow faced possible miscarriages. While it’s easy to attribute these stories to fear and superstition, it’s the ones that followed that frightened people even more.

A local college fraternity took to including Black Aggie in their initiation rites, with the pledges being made to spend the night on the statue’s lap. One anecdotal case mentions that the stone woman came to life and squeezed the life out of the young man. Another instance reported by a night watchman was of a boy found frightened to death at Aggie’s feet. Other reports are of red glowing eyes at night and people dying after disrespecting the statue.

Due to the popularity of the statue and the damage caused by the people coming to see it, the decision was made to donate it. After several years where its whereabouts were unknown, the statue is now on display in the rear courtyard of the Dolly Madison house in Washington, D.C. After its removal areas of grass that refused to grow while it lay in Black Aggie’s shadow have begun filling in once again.

Is there something to this tale, or is it just an urban legend? Who can say? Perhaps these stories are as anecdotal as they sound, but what if there may be some factual evidence to back it up? Regardless, I hope this provides some fuel for your nightmares.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J. Pitsiladis

 

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Nightmare Fuel – The Tragic Tale of Olivia Mabel

Hello Addicts,

In the last episode, I gave a brief overview of tulpas or thought forms. That is so I can bring you this week’s Nightmare Fuel, the tragic tale of Olivia Mabel.

Olivia Mabel was a happy wife and mother living on a ranch just north of Dallas, TX whose life was rocked by the death of her son, Aiden, who was found dead in one of their ponds. Devastated, Olivia began drawing away from everything else in her life. She spent less time with work, friends, and church, and eventually divorced her husband before secluding herself away in her home.

On February 27, 1994, police arrived at Olivia’s home responding to multiple silent calls to 911. After repeatedly knocking on the front door without a response, the officers broke the door down. Inside the house was filled with dust, stale air, and neglect. They eventually discovered Olivia’s body in her son’s immaculately kept bedroom, sitting in a rocking chair in front of a shrine dedicated to Aiden and clutching a stick figure doll. Based on the state of her body, the authorities figured that she died months prior.

The altar to Aiden was what you expect to find for a grieving parent: personal possessions of his, letters from his mother to him, hand-drawn pictures, candles, flowers, and an urn filled with ashes. Affixed to the front of the altar was Sanskrit writing that translated to “construct” or “to build.” These elements contributed to a feeling of an “angry presence” in the home.

Before long, some people began piecing together a theory on what may have happened to Olivia Mabel. They believed that the constant concentration, thoughts, and effigies focused on her son may have created a tulpa version of him. What is most disturbing about that is, if true, it is the first case where a tulpa is believed to have killed its creator. Fueling this is a note found at the scene from Olivia to her son which reads, “My Aiden, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I should have never let it get like this. I’m leaving. I will not let you keep me you ViLE, EViL CREATURE. Mommy’s coming for you, Aiden, my sweet Aiden. Mommy loves you.” What makes this note especially odd is that the letter was dated February 27, 1994, many months after her estimated death.

Did Olivia die of a broken heart, or did she create a tulpa of her son, who later killed her? If she did create a thought-form, what happened to him? If not, who placed the phone calls to 911? Is this case unique, or just a mischaracterization of a heartbreaking tragedy? We may never really know.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel – Resurrection Mary

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

Imagine driving along in your car and seeing a young woman in a white dress and dancing shoes walking along the roadside.  You feel sorry for her and offer a ride, which she graciously accepts.  When you arrive at the address she gives, you are shocked to see it is a cemetery.  You look to verify the address with your passenger, only to see her vanish in front of your eyes.  Immediately, you wonder whether she was there or if you were losing your mind.  A third option to offer is that the young lady in question was a ghost.

Hitchhiking ghost stories have long been a part of urban legends for decades, if not longer.  The scenario described above is one version of a famous tale from Justice, IL, a village not far from Chicago.  Resurrection Mary, as she is known, is described as a light blond-haired, blue-eyed woman wearing a white dress.  Additional details only sometimes reported are black dress shoes, a thin shawl, and a small clutch purse.  Another commonality in each story is Resurrection Cemetery, the location giving Mary part of her name.  Some reports claim that a woman matching her description runs out and either attempts to jump directly in front of the vehicle or on the side runners as they drive by before disappearing.  Other tales describe meeting the young lass walking along Archer Avenue, or at the O’Henry Ballroom, only to disappear once arriving at the cemetery.  Dozens of men over the years have claimed sightings or interactions with the ghostly woman.  In fact, Mary is considered one of the more famous hauntings in the Chicago area.

How did Mary become a ghost, you might ask?  Researchers of the legend commonly agree that the young woman spent her last evening alive dancing at the O’Henry Ballroom with her boyfriend before getting into a heated argument with him.  She left alone on foot along Archer Avenue when a car came out of nowhere and struck her down.  Her body is discovered the next morning and buried in the Resurrection Cemetery wearing the same white dress and dance shoes from the stories.  Whether this version of the story is real or simply an urban legend is impossible to say, but doesn’t the beauty of a good story lie in not knowing?

So the next time you’re driving at night and see a young woman matching Mary’s description, think twice about picking her up.  Once you arrive at the cemetery, she will most likely vanish before your eyes.  Then again, she may enjoy your company and take you with her.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel by D.J. Pitsiladis: Ted Bundy’s House

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

Imagine you buy a home with the intention of renovating it and selling it for a profit, only for strange things to start happening.  The idea of owning a haunted house intrigues many but is also a source of nightmares to many others.  But, what if the house in question was the childhood home of one of the sickest and most handsome serial killers in American history?

The little blue house in Tacoma, WA, was purchased in September 2016 by David Truong who planned to fix and flip it.  A month later, when Casey Clopton, the contractor hired to work on the house, arrived with his eleven-year-old daughter, she complained about feeling uneasy and refused to be left alone inside.  The feeling was echoed the following week by a member of the demolition crew, but the work went ahead as planned.

Things began happening, and Clopton figured it as nothing more than his employees playing pranks on each other.  That thought started to change one day when they arrived and found all of the doors and drawers inside wide open, even though the outer doors were locked up tight and the alarm system was still armed.  Another time, while cleaning a flood in the basement, the words “Help Me” appeared in the window even though there was a screen between the glass and the outside access.  “Leave” also appeared in drywall dust with no visible footprints anywhere near.  Electronics became unplugged and quickly died.  Then, a dresser inset in the hallway wall pulled itself free and toppled forward.  According to Clopton, two people were needed to move the dresser, and they were all on a different floor at the time.  Other reports ranged from jiggling doorknobs to phantom footsteps and knocks.

It was when Clopton talked to neighbors that he discovered the home’s infamous history.  The house he was renovating was the childhood home of serial killer Ted Bundy.  Bundy, who confessed to at least thirty murders, moved into the home with his family in 1955 when he was nine years old.  While that seems rather innocuous, keep in mind that he is suspected to have started his murder spree while living in that home, although nothing has definitively linked or cleared him of the crime.

Clopton called in two pastors who read scriptures and performed blessings in every room.  The clergymen encouraged the workers to listen to Christian music while they worked and to write Bible verses on the walls.  They did all of that and managed to finish the house four months later than planned.  The home sold shortly afterward.  It is unknown whether the new owners are aware of their new purchases’ history or if the protections done are still protecting them.  It almost makes me want to check the history of my home.  Almost.

Until next time, Addicts….

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — The Suicide Forest

Hello Addicts.

For the season finale of HorrorAddicts.net, let’s take an overseas journey to the Aokigahara Forest, in the shadow of Mt. Fuji in Japan.

The forest is about a two-hour journey from Tokyo, but that hasn’t stopped people from visiting for the beautiful sights, the macabre discoveries, and others for ending their lives. It is estimated that 500 hundred individuals have entered the forest since 1950 and never left alive, with a record-setting 105 deaths reported there in 2003.  Approximately seventy sets of human remains are discovered in the forest every year, some so old they are only moss-covered bones when they are brought out.

 

suicide forest

Then there is the paranormal aspect of the forest. Due to a number of suicide victims not yet discovered, many spiritualists believe that the souls of the dead have permeated into the trees themselves, adding to the difficulty of escaping the forest once inside.  Once discovered, the bodies of the departed are brought to the ranger’s station, where they await removal from the park.  Each time one unlucky ranger must spend the night in the same room as the body(s), since leaving them alone overnight is to deal with a moving corpse and a screaming yurei, or ghost of the departed.

Some additional facts about the Suicide Forest are:

  1. Many refer to its lush green beauty as the “perfect place to die”.
  2. The density of the Sea of Trees makes it easy to get lost without running across another living human being.
  3. Compasses malfunction due to the magnetic iron ore in the area.
  4. It is the second most sought-after place to end one’s life, behind the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA, USA.

For those who are considering suicide, know that there are people who care about you, understand the pain you are going through, and want to help you through it all.

Until next season Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Nightmare Fuel — The ZoZo Phenomena

 

Hello Addicts,

If you are a regular user of Ouija boards, then many of you have probably heard of this week’s Nightmare Fuel topic. If not, allow me to introduce you to… the ZoZo Phenomenon.

Let me start by explaining, for those just new to the horror realms what an Ouija board is. Sometimes referred to as a spirit board, an Ouija board is some form of a flat surface, most of the time wood or cardboard, with the alphabet, the numbers 0-9, and common words such as “yes”, “no”, and “goodbye”. You place your fingers lightly on a device called a planchette and wait for the spirits to begin moving it around. Once a connection with a spirit is made, you can ask it questions, which the entity answers by moving the planchette to different parts of the board. Because of the nature of people in moving the planchette, whether deliberately or subconsciously, there is a certain level of uncertainty in the effectiveness of the device. What makes the ZoZo Phenomena particularly interesting is a number of people reporting it from around the world before it became a talked about thing, since 1816 according to the earliest stories.

The beginnings of the stories share this similarity, an Ouija board session is started and an entity identifying itself as ZoZo (or sometimes ZaZa or ZoSo). From there, the stories diverge drastically. Some people have reported things like the spirit providing an answer to questions it had no reason to know and impersonating others just to frighten the users of the board. Others have reported bumps, bangs, and threatening messages. Still, others have experienced possession and death threats/predictions. For one person, in particular, ZoZo not only predicted how he was going to die but used the man’s ex to attempt to bring it into being when she stabbed him to death.

Some people say that ZoZo is simply a mischievous spirit or a collection of copycat spirits. Others claim that it is a demon bent on creating as much mayhem, death, and pain as possible. It may also be the result of mass hysteria, deep-seated human fears, or an urban legend. I myself think that ZoZo is a collection or mix and match of all of the above. One thing is for certain, the ZoZo Phenomena is one that should not be taken lightly or ignored, especially if you use an Ouija board.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Book Review: Resurrection America by Jeff Gunhus

Hello Addicts,

For this month’s book review, I selected Resurrection America by Jeff Gunhus. Let me start by saying that the book isn’t your typical horror story fare. I assure you that there are enough elements by the end of the book for the more discerning horror tastes.

Resurrection is a small, picturesque town in Colorado attempting to rebuild itself after many years of financial hardship. The day before their annual Fall Festival, an event they hope will jumpstart their tourism industry, the sheriff is called out to the mine overlooking the town. A new company has moved into the long dormant mine with plans to reopen it and give a large donation to the town. The sheriff agrees to keep mum about the company’s presence until they are ready to speak with Resurrection’s mayor and council. The actual plans for the town and the mine are far from the happy, hopeful story given. The real hope is for the events in Resurrection, CO, to kick the United States of America out of their post-war stagnation. Needless to say, what is planned for the townspeople is truly horrifying on many levels.

As I said at the beginning, this doesn’t fall easily into the realm of horror. The story as a whole would fall under science-fiction thriller, but there are enough horror elements to whet the casual Addict’s appetite. What is most frightening about the story is the plausibility of something like this possibly happening with the technology available today. If you are a hardcore horror fan, you may not appreciate the story as much. Overall, I think Resurrection America is a fun read.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J. Pitsiladis